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You'll Die Smarter

Author: Choses à Savoir

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If you ever wanted to know why you should drink before telling a lie, why Disney characters wear white gloves, or what is the ideal vacation length, then look no further.

80 Episodes
The clouds we see in the sky seem rather light, almost like absorbent cotton. However, being filled with water and ice, these gigantic suspended masses weigh - in reality - up to several tons. Don't be fooled by appearances, the clouds that float above your heads are more like anvils in suspension. Indeed, being made of billions of water and ice droplets, these vaporous masses can weigh far more than you may expect. With a water density of about 0.5 grams per cubed meter, a cloud of 100 kilometers cubed can reach the mass of 500 000 tons.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Long before Magellan completed the first circumnavigation of the globe, in the 16th century, ancient Greek scientists had demonstrated, by simple observation, that the Earth was round, or rather spherical. Of course, this did not prevent some people from believing that our planet was flat. To be fair, even some individuals don’t believe it now.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
As you may have already noticed, if you bite aluminum foil, the strange sensation of heat or pain in your teeth is quite unpleasant. This is due to the contact between the aluminum and the metals that make up the fillings in some teeth. If you feel a tingling sensation when biting aluminum foil, it is because some of your teeth have been provided with fillings. In this case, the connection between the aluminum and the elements of the filling causes a reaction similar to that of a battery.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
You all know the Bermuda shorts: those shorts that come down to the knee, unlike the classic shorts that only cover part of the thighs. You may be more familiar with the name “dad shorts.” While today it is considered as a vacation or a summer outfit for older generations, its origin is quite different.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
According to some estimates, the surname "Nguyen" is used by around 40% of the population in Vietnam. This country is home to 95 million people, so there are nearly 38 million Mr. or Mrs. Nguyen. This makes Nguyen the 4th most popular name in the world, just behind Lee, Zhang and Wang, all Chinese names.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Mankind doesn't just send rockets or space probes into space. In fact, many unexpected objects have been launched into space, all for the sake of science.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
On the walls of the Egyptian pyramids, human depictions, and especially depictions of nobility, are often represented in profile. The reason they are designed this way is primarily religious. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the ancient Egyptian characters are not entirely represented in profile. Only the face, the legs and the arms are painted in this way. The bust and torse is represented from the front. And actually the singular eye on the profile face is depicted as if being viewed from the front, rather asynchronous to the rest of the face.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
Have you noticed this before? Try this little experiment: Try to break a raw spaghetti noodle in half with your fingers by bending it until it breaks. If you give it a go, the noodle will most likely break, but not into two pieces. There's no need to feel sorry for yourself if you failed – your skills are not at fault. Raw spaghetti breaks into 3, 4, 5 or more pieces, but almost never in two. In fact, it is almost impossible to do so. This is the "mystery of the broken spaghetti". It may seem trivial, but it has interested many great scientists, including Richard Feynman, the famous American physicist of the 20th century. He was primarily known for reformulating quantum mechanics.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
The paper clip was indeed a symbol of unity and resistance of a particular nation in the face of the Nazi occupation during the Second World War. And this nation is Norway. It is hard to imagine that such a mundane object, primarily used to hold sheets of paper together, could have had such a great and noble meaning. Yet, history and Norway prove us otherwise. At the turn of the 20th century, a Norwegian by the name of Johan Vaaler patented the first paper clip model, close to the one we use today. But it was not exactly the same. His model lacked the two complete loops and resembled a rectangle. This design was not as easy to insert sheets of paper. As a result, his invention was never produced.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
It's a fact that the more aviation savvy among you may have already observed: on the whole, airliners fly slower than they used to. If we take a random flight, for example from New York to Denver, it takes 19 minutes longer today than in 1983 to connect the two cities. This seems to go against the grain of technological progress, so what are the factors that explain this?  See for privacy and opt-out information.
The Sphinx of Giza is a monumental statue consisting of two distinct parts: a human face (that of a pharaoh wearing the nemes, the emblematic pharaonic headdress) and the elongated body of a lion. This Sphinx stands in front of the pyramids of the site of Giza, upstream of the Nile Delta in Egypt, near the modern city of Cairo. The Sphinx of Giza is 73 meters long, 20 meters high, and 14 meters wide. It is the largest monolithic monumental sculpture in the world.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
Before we begin, you should know that there are approximately 930 million left-handed people in the world. But can dominant sides lead people to be better (or worse) in specific subjects? Actually yes. Left-handed individuals are better at mathematics. To reach this conclusion, researchers from the University of Liverpool and Milan conducted a study of 2,300 Italian students aged 6 to 17 years old. These students were given a mathematics test consisting of easy questions such as addition and subtraction, and also more complex problems. Then each student was tested to determine the percentage  See for privacy and opt-out information.
This curious myth that boys are born in cabbages and little girls in roses has not only one but two claimed origins. Here they are. The first of the two theories, claims that since ancient times, cabbage has been a symbol of fertility. This can probably be explained by its form and composition: its countless superimposed leaves. It is known that in this period, as well as in the Middle Ages, cabbage soup was traditionally served to young couples to increase their chances of having a baby. It was also believed that cabbage helped the development of the foetus and was one of the foods that increased the quality of the sperm.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Maybe you've already asked yourself this question. It's quite natural since there are sometimes very few chips in a bag, especially compared to its size. The reason why chip bags are always half empty is that it is necessary for preservation. In fact, if the chips are exposed to oxygen for too long, they soften and spoil quickly. To keep them edible and crispy, they need to be few in number, and in contact with a particular gas: nitrogen. The absence of oxygen slows down the oxidation of the fatty substances soaking the chips.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
Christmas in Japan is a modern tradition that is constantly growing in importance, although the birth of Jesus Christ is rarely celebrated on the occasion. Only 1% of the Japanese population is Christian, so Christmas primarily revolves around the myth of Santa Claus. In Japan, this holiday is not an occasion for family gatherings, but rather meeting up as a couple or with friends. On New Year's Eve, people will gather for fancy meal, but their Christmas spread is a bit different. The center of attention is not a turkey, but rather chicken. To be more specific, fried chicken, and ideally from the classic KFC chain.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
The "Hitler moustache": this is the familiar term used to refer to the mustache that prior to the end of the Second World War, was actually known as the "toothbrush moustache". Inevitably associated with the figure of the Führer, it has unsurprisingly been unfashionable since the mid-1940s.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Loneliness affects between 10 and 20% of the population. It is known that loneliness can promote depression, lower the immune system, and even effect development. In order to measure the effects of loneliness on the brain’s mechanisms, a study was carried out using data from an English database. This database collects, among other things, genetic data and MRI results from approximately 40,000 people.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
As you have no doubt noticed, yawning is a very contagious reflex. This mimicry, specific to humans and certain other primates, is explained by the activation of specific neurons called "mirror neurons". These neurons are activated when we see a person doing certain actions. If we see a person yawning, the mirror neurons lead us to imitate them. But this reproduction only applies to certain behaviors, such as yawning. In many other cases, the brain prevents this propensity to copy our fellow human beings.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
The leaves of laurel, a species of evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean basin, are often braided into a crown as a reward or as a symbolism of victory. To understand why, we have to go back to ancient Greece, and more specifically to a particular myth. According to ancient Greek mythology, Eros, the god of Love, decided to punish Apollo, the god of the Sun, for mocking him during an archery session. Both Eros and Apollo were renowned for their archery skills.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
The Veblen effect, more commonly known as the snobbery effect, can easily be summed up as the fact that we, as humans, like or want to buy objects, not because we need them or because we especially like them, but simply because of their price. Yep, because they’re expensive. This effect was highlighted by the economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen in his 1899 book The Theory of the Leisure Class. Veblen observes that if we look at the field of luxury goods, or at least those that allow people to identify themselves as belonging to a certain social class, the price decrease of these products results in decreasing interest of their potential buyers.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
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